AOC-allied climate group announces 'insurgent' House primary challenges against incumbent Dems

The Democratic Party can expect to face even more progressive pushback in the 2020 primaries as a prominent climate group on Thursday advanced "insurgent" candidates in order to garner future congressional support for the Green New Deal.

The group, known as the Sunrise Movement, has worked with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to promote her signature legislation and even joined her in protesting at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office in 2018.

In a press release, Sunrise offered support for candidates they said were running on the climate plan, which has received the cold shoulder from Democrats like Pelosi. The candidates included Robbert Emmons Jr. for Illinois' first district, Morgan Harper for Ohio's third, Mike Siegel for Texas' 10th, and Marie Newman from Illinois' third.

Sunrise Political Director Evan Weber called out "establishment politicians of both parties" for being complacent on the issue of climate change and indicated voters were looking for a "new way of doing things" in D.C.

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“These insurgent campaigns are a clear indicator of the appetite for an entire new way of doing things, and a restructuring of our society under a populist agenda that guarantees things like living wage jobs, affordable and safe housing, universal clean air and water, and Medicare for All — all policies which we see bundled into the Green New Deal framework," he said.

Emmons Jr. and Newman are looking respectively to target Reps. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., and Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., whom the group says both opposed the Green New Deal.

Ocasio-Cortez previously provoked Lipinski's ire in September when she endorsed Newman as his successor. Lipinski, D-Ill., is considered a moderate and refused to co-sponsor Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal resolution in the House.

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"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement of Marie Newman makes crystal clear that Ms.Newman is an extreme candidate," Lipinski said as part of a longer statement. Ocasio-Cortez seemed flabbergasted, suggesting that Lipinski was able to make such strong remarks due to his "corporate" ties.

Earlier this year, Lipinski threw his weight behind a bipartisan carbon tax that came under scrutiny for resembling a plan backed by the Climate Leadership Council, whose founding members included ExxonMobil.

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"Lipinski and his dwindling circle of fossil-fuel funded Democrats are a threat to the Democratic Party truly being a party of the people," Newman said in Sunrise's press release.

The endorsements will likely add to the tension over climate change between Democrats and members of the progressive left. Pelosi herself has already staged what appeared to be an insurrection of her own. At a United Nations meeting earlier this month, she seemed to flout the president's decision to leave the controversial Paris Climate Agreement.

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Last month, nearly 260 groups sent a letter requesting that Pelosi and Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., pursue policies like the Green New Deal instead of "incremental or isolated policy tweaks."

According to The Washington Post, the group Extinction Rebellion held a hunger strike in an attempt to force the speaker into a video-recorded meeting. When they realized she was planning to leave D.C., the protesters attempted to storm past her office's entrance and into a broader room where her chief of staff sat.